If you think Buffalo’s resurgence is a good thing, think bigger. We’re only as strong as our region, and our region is Buffalo Niagara. Niagara Falls is also experiencing a rebirth. There are cranes in the air and a new culture brewing. The folks at @picc_nf and @live_nf have taken the lead in changing that culture from “Down and out, sorry for ourselves” to “We know how to have a good time here, and look at what we’re building.”
We saw a photo on Instagram taken by @grunt4what and shared by @live_nf and asked for the story behind what the heck is going on up there?! You can explore the turnaround on IG via #LiveNF or better yet, get on up there for a beer and take some photos yourself.
We’ll let Seth Piccirillo, Director of Niagara Falls Community Development tell you the story:
Just like Buffalo, we are trying to make progress and get people focused on the future rather than past failures. Here are some of the major things going on from a bricks and mortar perspective, but also from the grass roots civic end:
The creation of #LiveNF as a way to help locals share their personal Niagara Falls experience to a larger audience. We want to create a local brand that does not come off as a outdated marketing campaign. Beyond that, LiveNF has also become a calling card. A way to get people together for grassroots events that feature a local business or local music. A way to create grassroots public art throughout the city as a way to get more established artists to take a longer look at us. Everyday, we see new people using #LiveNF, and its starting to spread to people we do not know, and will never know. That’s pretty cool. I prefer to see Niagara Falls through some one else’s perspective, because I already know that I will be here forever. It’s more important to see the good and the bad parts of your city from some one that is new here, has left here or is just visiting. I have learned a great deal about my own city through #LiveNF.
NF Pints 4 Progress
This is a modification of Sunday Soup and by far our most successful civic venture. 135 people attended June’s event. People get together, pay $10 for local food, music and beer, and anyone can pitch a community project idea to the audience. Winner gets the pot. We have had 11 events in two years, and it is the best example of what we are about. Our next event is August 19, 6 pm with musical guest Zak Ward. We would love to have you as our guests.
Bricks and Mortar:
New International Train Station being constructed on Main Street/Whirlpool Street.
The Robert Moses Parkway North has been removed, and the Robert Moses Parkway North will be removed by 2017.
Eight new hotels are either constructed or under construction in Niagara Falls.
30 new market rate and loft apartments have been added in the downtown core in the last two years.
(that’s a big one for use. Just as downtown Buffalo had a lack of market rate apartments 15 years ago, we are finally becoming part of the positive trend).
A total of 129 renovated or new apartment units in the center city area between Third Street and and 12th Street, including the historic renovation of the Old South Junior School Building as part of the Niagara City Lofts project, and the renovation of the former school district administration building as part of the Walnut Homes Project. The Walnut Homes project is an in fill neighborhood housing project with the same developer of PUSH Buffalo’s Mass Ave Project.
Mixed use renovations on Third Street, including turning a vacant space into an art gallery and a state parole office into a a local coffee shop cafe
On the same block, the conversion of a vacant lot into an “Art Alleyway” this fall, creating a unique space to feature local art installations, while also connecting the commercial and residential district.
Old Falls Street
A public space that features daily music, outdoor games, vending, outdoor movies, Shakespeare and music and festivals. The space’s programming and physical build out continue to improve every year.
We have a great deal of work to still do. I can say confidently, for the first time, that we are on the right track.